Saturday, June 10, 2017

6/10/1940 Where There's a Will there's a Wolfe

6/10/1940  This date saw the publication of Rex Stout's Where There's A Will, in which Nero Wolfe tries to solve a crime involving the Secretary of State's family.  It's a weird book, full of symbolism that, to my mind, never goes anywhere.

For instance, the Secretary's wife is June.  Her sisters are May, a college president, and April, an actress.  They call June Juno,  the most powerful goddess in the Roman Pantheon, which naturally makes one think that the spinster genius May resembles the maidenly goddess of wisdom Minerva, and the beautiful April suggests Aphrodite (or Venus).  Then there is their sister-in-law who wears a veil because their brother accidentally show her in the face with an  arrow.  And a disputed will which bequeaths pieces of fruit to the three sisters.  Apples of discord?  It certainly seems like Stout had something mythological in mind here, but I don't know what.

The highlight of the book is the unexpected appearance of a second veiled widow.  The only way to determine who is the phony to yank off the veil with a fifty percent chance of revealing a horrible injury.  Brave Archie Goodwin is strangely reluctant to proceed... 

1 comment:

  1. I love it when you feature anything about Rex Stout or the Nero Wolfe series. This is my next book in the series to re-read. I wish I had kept track of how many times I have read each book.